Brevard, N.C. - The Brevard College Cycling team will be back in action this week as they make the trip to Madison, Wis. to take part of the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, hosted by the University of Madison-Wisconsin from May 6-8.
Marshal Hartley, Scott Hoffner, Corey Meyer, Michael Palevo and Bryan Underwood all qualified for the National Championships, racing two weeks ago at the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Championships to earn the right to wear the Brevard black and blue among the best riders in the nation.
Last season, the Tornados had three riders compete at the Championships as Meyer, Matt St. Marie and Julia Tellman took on the field and the trio represented Brevard College, finishing 17th overall in the Division II rankings out of the 46 schools that competed in Wisconsin last year.
"I think we’ll do well, especially building up to this point, it’s been going great," commented Coach Thad Walker. "Our entire team has done well this year and the thing I’ve enjoyed has been the teamwork on both the A and B teams. Working on the overall competitive balance is important and I look for us to continue to work well together at Nationals."
Nationals will start with the Road Race at 8:40 a.m. on Friday morning at the Blue Mound State Park. The riders will make five laps totaling 72 miles, around a course that would have hosted the 2016 Olympic Cycling event, had Chicago been awarded Summer Olympics by the International Olympic Committee.
"The thing with Road Nationals is it is always a selective course with lots of climbing," commented Walker. "It takes a specialized rider to do well on these courses."
Senior cyclist Meyer also added, "The Road Race is super challenging, but I look forward to taking on the course again."
Saturday brings the Team Time Trial, where the Tornados will field a team for the first time at the Nationals, with the men heading onto the course at Trek HQ – Waterloo. The course extends 19.2 miles.
The final event of the weekend is the Criterium, held on Sunday, with the Tornados taking the course at 10:30 a.m., with the event being held in Capitol Square.
"The thrill overall is the atmosphere of Nationals," said Meyer. "People from all over the United States are there, and the excitement is high for the Crit, with fans lining up over city blocks to watch."
The Tornados Cycling team is heading up to Madison, Wis. tomorrow morning, leaving the campus of Brevard College at 6 a.m. to drive up in preparation for the weekend. The team will get to practice and ride the course at least once during their pre-race preparations, but weather may play a factor for the event.
"There was snow up in Madison last week, so we’ll be anxious to see what the conditions look like when we get there," said Walker.
Fans can follow updates from the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships on www.BCTornados.com, as well as on USACycling.org and CyclingNews.com
"During the season, you’re not always going into the races fresh, but this week we’ve been tapering off the workload and resting up to get ready," said Meyer. "I’m just pumped to go and race, it’s the final race of my collegiate career, I’m going to leave it all out there on the course!"